NDC Founder on Expanding DC’s Affordable Housing Offerings During COVID – Commercial Observer
Washington, DC, has long had a great need for affordable housing, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the challenge.
To help, DC’s Department of Housing and Community Development is hoping to create a new loan program for developers buying and renovating affordable homes to save some of the planned projects that could do without city funding given the budget pressures of the pandemic.
The $ 38 million loan fund proposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser – which leverages a federal guarantee program – would provide third-party loans for developers working to maintain existing affordable units. Their goal is to get 6,000 units with expiring affordability agreements by 2025.
Last week, DHCD applied to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to set up the new fund through the Section 108 Loan Program, which will allow the city to use existing federal housing grants to gain access to new low-cost loans.
In its application, DHCD said the projects selected would address the national target of CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) for low to middle income people for housing.
“Each project will provide funding for developers to purchase and / or renovate apartment buildings; an eligible CDBG activity, ”DHCD stated in the document. “There have been numerous projects that have been put on the waiting list that otherwise might have been added to DHCD’s pipeline had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on available resources.”
In addition, the loan fund is designed to support projects that include the purchase and “substantial renovation” of homes that are affordable for people who earn up to 80 percent of the median family income of DC.
This could save five projects with a total of 270 units that were applied for funding last year.
Adrian Washington founded the neighborhood development society (NDC) in Washington in 1999 with the aim of founding a development company that focuses on the revitalization of up-and-coming urban districts.
Washington said it had seen firsthand the importance of affordable housing in the District of Columbia and recently spoke to Commercial Observer about how COVID has impacted affordable housing; the growing need in DC; and how NDC residents are involved in community building and creating places where people want to live, work and play.
Commercial Observer: Characterize the need for low-income housing in the DC area today?
Adrian Washington: As of the beginning of 2021, there is a tremendous need for low and middle income housing in the DC region. This has been the case before, and the pandemic has made the situation worse.
How has the pandemic affected low-income communities and homes in the DC region?
The demand has increased. Many people in this population group work in service industries, particularly hospitality, that have been devastated by the pandemic.
Tell me about the efforts NDC has made in the DC region to help.
In its 21-year history, NDC has been a key player in improving the supply of affordable housing. In addition to the hundreds of units we have shipped and hundreds more in our pipeline, we have been a leading advocate of government policy, served on numerous task forces, and held senior positions in major housing companies.
What are some of the developments NDC is currently working on that will help?
We have several projects under construction or under development in the area – 1100 Eastern, Park 27, High Street, Cedar Greens and 3450 Eads in DC and The Commons in Prince Georges County – which together add hundreds of low and middle income housing units in the Area.
What needs to be done to improve availability?
The pandemic has devastated state and local government budgets, pressuring funds to subsidize affordable housing. Elected officials need to stay strong and not cut the budgets of these important projects. In addition, governments must carefully examine cumbersome regulations and bureaucracy that add to costs and delay construction plans.
How do you get NDC residents to get involved in building their communities?
The involvement of residents has been instrumental in helping our communities master the challenges of COVID. The key to this was communicating frequently and honestly – constantly letting people know what is going on and what we are doing to protect them. Treating our residents as partners in the success of our communities has always been a cornerstone of our business philosophy; the foundation that we have built with our residents over the years has served us and them well during the pandemic.
Do you see a change in administration Impact on the work of NDC?
No. Throughout our history, administrations have come and gone. We adapt to changing realities but continue to focus on our mission.
What are some of your important goals ahead of you?
NDC is growing and building on the foundations we laid in the first two decades. Despite the current challenging times, in the coming decade we will expand our presence in the Washington, DC area and expand into other markets with high potential.